By TOM LEA
MADISON – Wisconsin’s offensive line coach Mike Markuson’s time at the position is over, citing multiple sources and a report in the Wisconsin State Journal.
One source, on condition of anonymity, told ESPNWisconsin.com that Markuson, just two games into his career trying to replace the highly successful Bob Bostad, was ‘not very well liked among the offensive linemen’ and that he left for ‘personal reasons.’
Bart Miller, serving as the quality control coach on offense, has been promoted to man the offensive line for the remainder of the 2012 season.
The move is unprecedented, seeing an assistant coach leave just two weeks into a given season during his first year on the job. But after two disappointing performances, capped off by UW’s 35 rushing yards in a 10-7 loss to Oregon State, it’s somewhat understandable.
Reading between the lines following UW’s loss at Oregon State it was apparent head coach Bret Bielema was not happy with the situation unfolding at the positional unit that has traditionally been the backbone of the Badger program.
“Obviously what we do at Wisconsin there’s a certain formula we recruit to that we believe to be very, very important for us to have success,” he said. “When we can’t let that happen we’re going to find ourselves in trouble. The best rhythm we had all day was the two-minute at the end.
“We’ve got to find a plan that gives us a chance to play in rhythm and make our guys make plays.”
When asked if he was talking about the run game and offensive line in particular, Bielema continued.
“Yeah, the things we traditionally do,” he said. The things we were planning on doing coming in here today. Again, I give credit to Oregon State, but there just wasn’t any room in there. We weren’t getting any push at the line of scrimmage. That goes to me. What we do during the course of the week, the inside drill, we’ve got to emphasize getting moving at the line of scrimmage and doing a lot better creating a new line of scrimmage for our backs to make reads off of.”
Bielema was also asked whether he was surprised the offensive line continued to struggle after a week one performance against Northern Iowa that failed to see typical UW offensive line dominance.
“It would be a disservice to say what I think,” Bielema said, in regard to speaking before watching the film. “I had the same viewing point that all of you had, just obviously from the sideline. I know there weren’t any clean looks for those guys to run through.
“That makes me believe there are lots of things happening at line of scrimmage.”
Wisconsin entered the season at the No. 12 ranked team in all of college football. Following a disappointing effort in the season opener and an even worse performance in Saturday’s loss, UW fell out of the A.P. rankings for the first time since 2009.
The Badgers also had an Outland Trophy hopeful in left tackle Ricky Wagner and a Heisman hopeful in Montee Ball.
Bielema, who hadn’t directly talked to Ball after the loss, described the frustrations his All-American tailback was probably enduring, knowing that his Heisman chances are essentially null and void after his 15-carry, 61-yard performance Saturday afternoon.
“If I was a guy that is used to putting up numbers and those numbers haven’t shown up it’s just natural human nature to get frustrated,” Bielema said. “That’s something he’s not alone on.”
Bielema is scheduled to meet with the local media at 12:30 Monday afternoon.
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